The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has been accused of whipping up sentiments to win the sympathy of the Ndigbo by its claim that the police were planning to arrest the father of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
Debunking the claim, the Abia State Police Commissioner (CP), Ene Okon, said the group was blackmailing the police by raising the alarm about the presence of policemen and other security personnel around Kanu’s home.
The IPOB claimed also that the target of the security agencies was to arrest Kanu’s father, who reportedly arrived his compound almost two years after his compound was invaded by soldiers.
But, Okon said the police have no such plans.
Also on Monday, the Labour and Employment Minister, Dr. Chris Ngige, and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Nze Modestus Umenzekwe, reminded members that IPOB was set up as a non-violent organisation.
In a telephone interview with our reporter on Monday, CP Okon said: “What IPOB has given to you people is completely false. As a matter of fact, we received intelligence report that IPOB is going to have a meeting in Nnamdi Kanu’s house.
“They prepared also for a protest over the alleged killing of their members during the Operation Python Dance and as an organisation that is charged with maintenance of law and order and to ensure peace, based on the intelligence that we gathered, we have to fortify the already existing police points within the area, which has been there for the past two years.
“All what we did is to put in more number of police in that area to ensure that there is peace . No policeman entered Nnamdi Kanu’s house or his father’s house.
“IPOB is pushing out propaganda to blackmail the police. The police didn’t even know whether Nnandi Kanu’s father is at home or not. Under what offence will the police go to arrest Nnamdi Kanu’s father; a 90-years-old man?
“If police have anyone to arrest, it is Nnamdi Kanu because he has been declared wanted and not the father.
“It is a mere propaganda or blackmail to win the sympathy of the Igbo by the IPOB. Remember that IPOB has been proscribed by law and they remain proscribed.
“Any of their activities and gathering is illegal. If we get intelligence of their gathering which will disrupt the peace of the area, I don’t think that we should sit back and look at them disturbing the peace of the area.”
Ngige and Umenzekwe recalled how IPOB was was set up as a violent organisation.
Speaking with The Nation in Awka, the one-time Anambra governor said that IPOB was registered by the former Ohaneze Ndigbo President-General, the late Dr. Dozie Ikedife, and other big wigs from the Southeast.
Ngige, who once represented the Anambra Central Senatorial District, noted that what was going on in the group was not part of the work plan.
The minister said he visited the United States (U.S.) and was welcomed well by IPOB members, instead of attacking him, adding that they knew he fed them when he held the fort as governor.
He said the proscribed IPOB should follow the workplan when it was formed instead of being a menace to the society, adding that the Shi’iite group was also proscribed by the Federal Government and not only IPOB.
The Igbo leader chided some evangelists for “killing Ndigbo” through what he called misinformation by them on the pulpits, warning that they should desist from such act.
Chief Umenzekwe said what Ndigbo needed was peace and not war.
He told The Nation: “We have some of our leaders as ministers at Abuja and we need to follow them. Sen Ike Ekweremadu is one of the Igbo leaders and he has served this country well as deputy Senate president. Why should IPOB attack him outside our shores.
“Let us queue behind our leaders and apply to avoid violence because violence will not bring peace. We have fought war in the past we don’t want any war again.
“There are more civil ways of making our agitations known. The issue of harassing him abroad is wrong and condemnable and we will never support that from IPOB or any other group.